Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One more thing.

I got onto the ARToolKit site to try and download a basic programme to create an AR test piece.


It's not worked yet.  Not that I know of anyway.  It might well be running and doing everything for me right now.

Accessed on the 30th of October, 2012.

Also, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=nez9X4GMIRwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Augmented+Reality&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4siPUNvZDeaa1AX8qoDAAw&redir_esc=y is where I found the link to the book I mentioned before.  It's nice to find the books online but it's nicer to hold that actual thing in your hands  :)


Reading? On a Games Design course?!

I've started reading a few books about Augmented Reality.  Not so light, this reading.

At the moment, I'm looking at 'Prototyping Augmented Reality' by Tony Mullen.

Somewhat sidetracked, I remebered one of my favourite skateboarders - Rodeny Mullen.  Same surname.

Here's Mullen - Rodeny - talking at The University of Southern California about context shaping content.  http://skateandannoy.com/2012/06/rodney-mullen-on-ted/

It's pretty nice.  The link is to the website I got it from (visited on the 30th of October, 2012 for my Masters reference), but if you just want the video I'll try and put that below...

Nope.  Not going to happen, I'm afraid.  You'll just have to go the site and watch it there.  I'd recommend it, though.  It's nice to hear him speak - I've never heard him speak before today!

It was pretty nice to watch and he was making a good point.  When he was defending his titles in championships, he felt trapped.  But when he lost his title he found that he had the freedom to crate tricks for the sake of creating tricks.  I find it's the same with my drawing for the most part - if I have a project, I get increasingly unmotivated but as the project comes to and end I get the thirst to draw things for myself.  Even if it's the same thing I've been drawing for the project, the fact that I can do it for myself makes it that little bit sweeter.

I need lunch.  We'll see if any of the links here have worked and I'll fix them later if not.


More model work.

After getting a splitting headache last week after spending 5 or 6 hours in front of Maya - non-stop; I thought I'd give this whole 'take a break' thing a go.  I think it'll work better if I move away from the screen.  We'll have to see.

For today, I've just been working a bit more on the model I posted last week.  I'm still a bit out of my depth but I think I can feel myself starting to flost somewhat.  I still can't touch the bottom and stand properly, nor can I swim or even tread water.  But a slow ascent to the surface is a start.

At the top right is a different model.  The left hand side and the bottom right are the same model in different positions but I started thinking that the arm wasn't anywhere near big enough.  So I duplicated the model and blew the arm up some.  I like it, but I think I'm going to finish the smaller-armed model and then tweak the arm.  I don't know why.  It might bite me in the bum in the end.  We'll see.  And learn.  That's the goal.

Lunch time.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A little progression before home time.

Not a lot of detail or anything, but I'd been working on the bigger, alien arm of my character for a while, building up the forearm and then the hand.  Josh came over and told me that I could use the 'fill hole' option and ...  well..  fill everything in and then split up the shapes until I got something that was easier to work with and that I could arrange and rearrange until I have the shape I want for my character.
Here's how it's going so far.
As you can see, there's still a big hole through it.  That's going to get filled in next week.  The way I've drawn out the character means that the head doesn't attach to the body as it normally would, so I'm going to be looking at how to join everything up in an effective way.
Actually, Josh was talking about the way I join things up affecting the way they move, so if I'm not too worried about things moving at all, it might be worth just smashing everything together and making it look good.  Aesthetics beats function, right?  That's what most fashion has taught me, anyway.
Snack time and then home time, I think.

Sketchbook work.

I only have one of my sketchbooks with me today, so I thought I'd scan all the works I've done so far and put the pages up here.  I'll do it again with my other sketchbooks when I find them...

This is my first page of the year - two different monkey janitor designs.  One with a slop bucket, one with a mop.  The writing is just ideas of where to take the project this year.

The first designs I drew out trying to think about creating/finding a drawing style that I could more easily transfer to Maya and the 3D stuff therein.  I'd also started to draw out textures that I was going to scan in and use on the models themselves.

The Ant-headed monkey here was a doodle that came about in one of those lovely moments where nothing is really needed to be done and so I was free to draw anything.  I'd seen a good picture of a monkey on a ledge, as you do, and tried to get that position with the body on here.  Then I drew an ant head on it because I was too tired to figure out how a rabbit head would look.

The drawings starting at the top left, making their way down and then round to the middle of the page are my explanation images whenever I try to tell people what I'm doing at the moment.

Some notes and thoughts on what I thought I could try and do.

More notes and thoughts.  At the moment, we don't have to internet, so my wifey and I go to McDonald's and get a drinky.  For a few hours.  She catches up with her family and I draw and write out notes in my sketchbooks.  This is one of the pages.  I often work with two sketchbooks at once; one above the other.  It's nice to have four pages to go to and from instead of flipping back and forth.  The pages that came from this are in the sketchbook that I don't have with me today.

Here's the page I drew up when I was thinking about how to market the game that - at the moment - I've thought of.  The ideas for the game may well change but at the moment this is what I'm thinking it could look like.

The idea is as follws:
The customer buys the box that the required card comes in.  The idea is that the required cards carries the information needed to see the main character of the game appear in 3D when looked at through an Augmented Reality app.  As the game progresses, the character levels up and becomes stronger, more powerful, better equipped, etc.  To do this, he must fight monsters that he comes across and these are in the form of other cards.
The cards will be sold in booster packs and will be level-orientated.  Booster packs with monsters at levels 1-4, 5-9, 10-14, etc.  As the character levels up, the player buys the appropriate booster packs.
The box will come with the character card and three level 1-4 booster packs.
Also in the box will be a code that enables the player to download the app. that the game runs on.  The cost of the app. will be included in the price of the box.

In as smooth a nutshell as possible; that's the idea for now.

A few posts ago I made a little image that (hopefully) explained what I'm wanting to achieve.  This is the robot that I used for the card design.

Designs and poses for the main character.

More designs and poses for the main character.

And then this is today's progress at modeling the character.  It's not too strongly adhering to my usual style, but it seems to be working, so I'll not complain.

Time for lunch.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A fourth.

I could have just updated my first post, but there we go.

A quick candle with a gradient or two for me to see what they look like.

I can do better but I want to go home to my wifey.



I found a pretty nice blog post that I think I'll try and follow.  It's a basic character and a basic technique in texturing it.

http://lowpolyproject.blogspot.co.uk/2011_03_01_archive.html is the link.  I think I'll go there now.



I'll try that again.  Here's the link to the actual post - http://lowpolyproject.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/tutorialreference-texturing-casey-jones.html

More modeling stuff.

I don't take size into consideration.  This is a bad thing.

I spent a good while trying to iron out little flaws and niggly bits in this next model and then my tutor came past and showed me at what size it would be seen on screen.

It's not that big, really.

Now that I know that a bit better I'll try and spend less time on the texturing and more time making models.


Research. Back to the grind.

So this blog is going to be a big list of research things that I've been looking at to help with my Augmented Reality stuff.  It's a good thing because it means I don't have to cart round a huge sketchbook any more but it's also a bad thing because at the moment I can only really update it twice a week, so I'll be saving up my research things and adding them when I can.

First for all of this is a rundown of a few websites I've been looking at.

We're encouraged to use websites, but not too much.  Books and journals are pushed.  Which is nice and I'm looking at a good few - but when I'm in uni and I'm on the computer doing whatever I'm doing, it's easier to get online and do a quick search for what I'm thinking of at the time.

All the websites were accessed today - the 16th of October, 2012.

As with all great research projects, I started with Google.  I searched for 'Making Augmented Reality business cards'.  At the moment I'm not interested in making AR business cards - although that'd be pretty nice - but I wanted to have something more specific to search for than 'Augmented Reality'.  ...  Which was last week's search  :D

First of all, I reached http://www.harmony.co.uk/use/augmented-reality-developer/?gclid=CIOylpyahbMCFYTMtAodq0UA7Q which is a nice looking site but very much a business site.  A lot of talk about how they'll do this and that for you; the customer who doesn't know what AR is yet.

Then I got to http://daqri.tumblr.com/post/6727434885/how-to-create-an-amazing-augmented-reality-business which was alright.  The video won't play because it's a private video.  Which is frustrating because it seems to be a public page.  The main page, however - http://daqri.tumblr.com/ is pretty amazing!  Not a lot about what I'm looking at, but there's a whole lot of stuff to look at.  Give it a go - there's a great video with a computer projecting contours on/in a sandbox and it updates to re-project the contours as the user digs and builds hills.  Pretty nice.  There's also the ZeroN - a ball that's manipulated by a big, computer-controlled electromagnet.  It's great.

From the first daqri page, I found this link to some of the top AR business card ideas - http://dzineblog.com/2010/10/20-incredible-augmented-reality-business-card-designs.html  and to be honest, I'm not that keen on a lot of them.  They all seem fairly samey and bland.  Burton Posey - about 1/3 of the way down the page - has an idea that I like more than the rest.  My idea is to have a little 3D me on a looped animation of my character running on the spot.  Nothing huge.

What I'm wanting to do right now is get an idea of how to go about making an AR card.  It'll be a huge step towards what I'm wanting to do in the long run and a great morale boost!  Even if it's just a static AR model of a prop that I throw together quickly - if there's something that I can see in 3D through an AR app, I'll be over the moon.

From one of the sites I saw this morning, I came across the company Aurasma.  The site - http://www.aurasma.com/ - is pretty nicely set out, but going to the 'pro' page - http://www.aurasma.com/partners/- it's a partner programme as opposed to a 'here are some steps for doing it' page that I was rather hoping for.

So my search continues.

Frustratingly, I have had several people download both the String app and the Aurasma app so I can get an image up on the computer and show them what happens.

Nothing happens.

There's only so much disappointment one can take.

My post may well be filled with typos and absent words.  Not that something can be filled with an absence...

I'm going to sulk and do Maya.

But before that - I'd really hate to post a wall of text.  I'll find an image to lighten the mood.

It's an image from my huge reference folder.
Nice and simple.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Every day is a school day.

Today I learned how to do alphas.  Exciting stuff.

I'm getting a better grasp of what to do when I'm modeling and texturing, but there's still a way to go.  I coloured the other day's monster - the body and everything are very basic because I wasn't really focusing on them.  I'm really happy with the antennae - that's where I applied the alpha - a layer that tells the model which parts to show and which to hide.

Here's the monster:

If you remember the last post I put up here - maybe even go back to it - you'll see that the antennae are just four squares.  Here, they have rougher edges and the one on the left is damaged and bent.  All seen through the magic of alphas.

That's my best description.

Today I found out that this blog is going to be looked at as my 'reflective journal'.  This means that I'll be putting things up here that I'm looking at in relation to my course.  Things that show me what sort of thing to research so that I can show you and you can show your friends.

I'm tired.  It's Dan-day today - the 12th of the month.  Melissa-day is the 23rd of the month.  Because they're the days our birthdays are on, we do something to celebrate every month.  Nothing big, like.  It's nice though.  I got breakfast in bed this morning.  Which was lovely.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A little better.

My tutor, Josh, showed me a much easier way of modeling.  Different strokes for different folks - not everyone models the same way.  I enjoy this way.

The picture of the creature I'm trying to make here isn't on this computer, so I'll have to upload it next time.  For now, here's the model of it:

It's an Ant-Headed monkey.  Of sorts.  I was really pleased with the drawing so I thought I'd try and do something with it.  I know the thing is blocky and I've left the legs out of the image for a reason.  I've still got a long way to go but I'm really happy to have done this today  :D

Now all I need to do is learn how to do textures and get this thing coloured.

I may use this as a test for my model-map-print-draw-scan line of working.  Or I may use something smaller and a bit more simple...

Here's the picture:

In hindsight I see I got the antennae mixed up with another character I drew a while ago, but that's fine. I'll use the damaged antennae on the model I have.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Three times in one day.

Here's a quick example of what I'm doing.  It's also a super-quick, scrappily coloured example of another model  :D


From the top left - I draw something.  Going to the right; I put that something onto a card.  Bottom;  when the card is viewed through the Augmented Reality app., the robot from the card appears over the image.


It's also why I'm trying very hard to learn Maya and get half decent with it.


Small day.

Not as pleased with this one as with the cigs before, but here's a hammer.

I was trying to use as small a colour map as possible, but I had to go with 1024 in the end.  64x64 frustrated me so much that I nearly gave up.  You know when nothing goes the way you want?  Yea.  That's 3D for me.  All the time.


Starting small.

I figured that I'd do well to start out making and trying to texture extremely basic things before I try and create people and buildings and monsters and aliens.

I wanted to keep the feel of my pen work on my 3D stuff, so - even though I went about it the wrong way - I scanned in my drawn textures and stuck them onto my model.

I say the wrong way - I thought that the easiest thing to do would be to model a pack of cigarettes and texture it.  To do this, I should have modeled the thing, mapped out the UVs so I could see which parts of the model I was going to be drawing on, drawn the textures and then put those textures onto the map to be seen on the model.

What I did instead was to draw out what I thought would be an accurate texture map and scan that in, proceeded by making the model and then mapping it out.  But I was wrong.  My drawings were less than accurate, so I had to do all sorts of shifting and skewing and rotating to get the textures to where I wanted them.  Lesson learnt.  I have another idea for doing this in the future.

Anyway.  Here's today's result:

I'm pretty happy with it.  Next time, I think I'll model the object, map out the UVs and then print out those maps.  With the printout under another sheet of paper on a light box, I'll then draw the textures on, scan it back in and then sit back as the textures all line up nice-like.

Something like that.

My tutor just informed me that a good idea for a next step is to do this again but using a smaller texture map.  I think I used 1024x1024 and I need to aim for 64x64, apparently...